Prostitutes in Zurich will be able to conduct business in drive-in sex booths beginning next year in a move that officials in the Swiss city hope will help make the sex industry safer and more regulated.
Earlier this year, voters in Zurich passed a referendum to approve construction of the sex booths on the outskirts of the city, which will provide private accommodations for approximately 30 prostitutes and their customers.
When the booths open in August 2012, prostitution will be banned in certain parts of the city and confined to the booths and two other zones, according to a news release on the Zurich Social Welfare Department's website.
"The big difference is that until now prostitution is in a public space," Michael Herzig, spokesperson for the department, told World Radio Switzerland. "Now we are going to change this, transfer it from the street, from a public to a private space to an old industrial area which belongs to the city, that give us the possibility to define the rules of prostitution in this space."
The booths will be outfitted with parking spaces, alarm buttons and an on-site counselor, English language Swiss news site The Local reported last year when the publicly funded measure was being discussed.
Beginning in January, sex workers will also have to apply for a license, register with a health insurer and purchase a ticket each night for approximately $5 before they begin soliciting customers.
Officials from the Social Welfare Department said the plan is "progressing" and ready to enter into full-force in the new year.